Marti returns to Poggio

(Borgo San Lorenzo, Italy May 15 2002) Spain’s Paula Marti returns to the scene of her maiden Tour victory to defend the £117,000 La Perla Ladies Italian Open starting Thursday at the picturesque Poggio dei Medici GC in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

The glamorous 21-year-old from Barcelona, who defeated compatriot Raquel Carriedo in a playoff here last year to win in only her second professional event, has invited her coach Fernando Chavez back to caddie this week, in the aim of repeating her victory.

Tinning – Denmark’s first Evian Tour winner

“It was great, everyone was waving flags at arrivals when I got back to Copenhagen,” said Tinning, who became the first Danish player to win a women’s professional Tour title.

“My mum, she lost it, she was crying and my dad was so proud, but it was a brilliant experience. I was all over the Danish press with pictures and I had to do a couple of TV interviews – it was exhausting, but it’s a great feeling too.”

Sweden will be hoping for their next Tour winner soon and there are high hopes for Maria Boden, who finished third in Ireland and is much lauded among the Swedish Tour contingent.

The 24-year-old from Harnosand arrived on Tour with a Bachelor of University studies from Oklahoma State, along with an enviable amateur record, including a twice NCAA All American first team player and three times player of the year in the Big XII conference league.

Pettersen – hoping for no more playoffs

While Marti won twice on Tour, Pettersen took the rookie of the year spoils with her unrivalled consistency throughout 2001, and this year, tops the order of merit after four events.

Having lost to former World number one Karrie Webb in a playoff for the Women’s Australian Open in February, and last week to Tinning, Pettersen will be aiming to avoid another trip down extra holes for a title.

“My playoff record is now not great,” laughed Pettersen, who, with another top ten finish will become the first Norwegian to represent Europe in The Solheim Cup.

“It’s great being in contention and to have the chance to win an event, but each time, I got beaten by a better player over one hole. Getting up there at the end, that’s what I love to do, but sometimes, you are just not going to win.”